Meral Akşener

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Meral Akşener
Meral Akşener İYİ Party 1 (cropped).jpg
Leader of the İYİ Party
Assumed office
25 October 2017
Preceded by Party established
Deputy Speaker of the Grand National Assembly
In office
10 August 2007 – 7 June 2015
Speaker Köksal Toptan
Mehmet Ali Şahin
Cemil Çiçek
Served with Sadık Yakut
Mehmet Sağlam
Güldal Mumcu
Ayşe Nur Bahçekapılı
Nevzat Pakdil
Eyyüp Cenap Gülpınar
Preceded by Yılmaz Ateş
Succeeded by Koray Aydın
Minister of the Interior
In office
November 8, 1996 – June 30, 1997
Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan
Preceded by Mehmet Ağar
Succeeded by Murat Başesgioğlu
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
22 July 2007 – 1 November 2015
Constituency İstanbul (III) (2007, 2011, Jun 2015)
In office
24 December 1995 – 3 November 2002
Constituency İstanbul (1995)
Kocaeli (1999)
Personal details
Born (1956-07-18) July 18, 1956 (age 61)
Izmit, Turkey
Nationality Turkish
Political party True Path Party (DYP) (1995–2001)
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) (2001–2016)
Good Party (İYİ) (2017–present)
Alma mater Istanbul University
Marmara University
Occupation Politician, academic
Religion Islam

Meral Akşener (born July 8, 1956) is a Turkish politician. She served as Minister of the Interior and was a vice-speaker of the parliament. In 2016, she led a group of opposition within the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) against its leader Devlet Bahçeli. On 25 October 2017, she founded the Good Party, of which she is the leader.

Early and personal life[edit]

Meral Akşener was born on July 8, 1956 in Gündoğdu neighborhood of İzmit, Kocaeli. The origins of her father Tahir Ömer and her mother Sıddıka are Balkan Muslims from Thessaloniki. [1][2]

She studied history at Istanbul University and she completed her post graduate studies at the Social Sciences Institute of Marmara University earning a Ph.D. in history. She then worked as a lecturer at the Yıldız Technical University, Kocaeli University and Marmara University before entering politics.[2]

Despite not wearing the hijab, Akşener is described as a devout Muslim who prays regularly.[3] She is known to her supporters as Asena, after the mythical she-wolf.[3]


She quit her post as a university department chair in 1994 and entered politics with the general elections in 1995 as deputy of Istanbul Province from the True Path Party (DYP). Akşener was the Minister of the Interior between November 8, 1996 and June 30, 1997 replacing Mehmet Ağar, who resigned as a result of his involvement in the Susurluk scandal.[2] She was later forced out of office after the 1997 coup.[4]

Akşener was re-elected to the parliament in the 1999 general election as deputy of Kocaeli Province. Later she was re-elected in the general elections of 2007 and 2011 representing Istanbul Province as a member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).[2]

She was elected vice-speaker of the parliament alongside Güldal Mumcu, another female politician, as serving at this post after Nermin Neftçi, who was elected in 1968 to be Turkey's first female vice-speaker.[2]

She split with the MHP leadership in 2016 over Erdogan's bid to transform Turkey’s constitution, and has promised to start her own political party. She is seen as a 2019 presidential candidate.[4]

She announced the foundation of the Good Party on 25 October 2017 and revealed its logo and aims. In her first address to her followers, Akşener has stated she believed that Turkish democracy is "under threat" and the Good Party wants a free society and fix the problems of the Turkish judiciary system.[5] Akşener further stated "Media should not be under pressure. Democratic participation, a strong parliament and the national will are irreplaceable. We will democratize the law on political parties in the light of contemporary democratic principles and the criteria of the Venice Commission."[5] Addressing the issue of greater Kurdish rights in Turkey, Akşener says: “To anyone who says they want group rights because they are different, I openly say no.”[3]


  1. ^ Biography
  2. ^ a b c d e "Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi 23. Dönem Milletvekili-Meral Akşener" (in Turkish). TBMM. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  3. ^ a b c "A challenge to Turkey's Erdogan". The Economist. 16 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Malsin, Jared. "Turkey's 'Iron Lady' Meral Aksener Is Getting Ready to Challenge Erdogan". Time. Retrieved 14 July 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Akşener hints at run for presidency in 2019 as she forms 'Good Party'". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2017-10-26. 

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